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The Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage, by Jan van Ruysbroeck, [1916], at





And therefore the Spirit of our Lord speaks thus in the Book of the Secrets of God, which St John wrote down: to him that overcometh, He says, that is, to him who overcometh and conquereth himself and all else, will I give to eat of the hidden manna, that is, an inward and hidden savour and celestial joy; and will give him a sparkling stone, and in the stone a new name written which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. This stone is called a pebble, 79 for it is so small that it does not hurt when one treads on it. This stone is shining white and red like a flame of fire; and it is small and round, and smooth all over, and very light. By this sparkling stone we mean our Lord Christ Jesus, for He is, according to His Godhead, a shining forth of the Eternal Light, and an irradiation of the glory of God, and a flawless mirror in which all things live. Now to him who overcomes and transcends all things, this sparkling stone is given; and with it he receives light and truth and life. This stone is also like to a fiery flame, for the fiery love of the Eternal Word has filled the whole world with love and wills that all loving spirits be burned up to nothingness in love. This stone is also so small that a man hardly feels it, even though he treads it underfoot. And that is why it is called calculus, that is, "treadling." And this is made clear to us by St Paul, where he says that the Son of God emptied Himself, and humbled Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. And He Himself spoke through the mouth of the Prophet, saying: I am a worm, and no man: a reproach of men and despised of the people. And He made Himself so small in time that the Jews trod Him under their feet. But they felt Him not; for, had they recognized the Son of God, they had not dared to crucify Him. He is still little and despised in all men's hearts that do not love Him well. This noble stone of which I speak is wholly round and smooth and even all over. That the stone is round teaches us that the Divine Truth has neither beginning nor end; that it is smooth and even all over teaches us that the Divine Truth shall weigh all things evenly, and shall give to each according to his merits; and that which he gives shall be with each throughout eternity. The last property of this stone of which I will speak is, that it is particularly light; for the Eternal Word of the Father has no weight, nevertheless It bears heaven and earth by Its strength. And It is equally near to all things; yet none can attain It, for It is set on high and goes before all creatures, and reveals Itself where It wills and when It wills; and, in Its lightness, our heavy human nature has climbed above all the heavens, and sits crowned at the right hand of the Father.

Behold, this is the sparkling stone which is given to the God-seeing man, and in this stone a new name is written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. You should know that all spirits in their return towards God receive names; each one in particular, according to the nobleness of its service and the loftiness of its love. For only the first name of innocence, which we receive at baptism, is adorned with the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. And when we have lost this name of innocence through sin, if we are willing still to follow Godespecially in three works which He wishes to work in uswe are baptized once more in the Holy Ghost. And thereby we receive a new name which shall remain with us throughout eternity.

Next: Chapter V. Of the Works Which God Works in All in Common and of Five Kinds of Sinners